Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz set the fastest lap on day two of pre-season testing in Bahrain on a day marked by a number of red flags.
At lunchtime, Sainz took charge from his teammate Charles Leclerc and set a benchmark of 1m 33.532s on the soft tyres, halfway through the afternoon. He finished the season half a second ahead of Max Verstappen, the Red Bull driver who finished second on Friday.
With 40 minutes left in the match, the reigning champ sparred at a wheel with Sainz, as the pair put on a show of braking late in the day.
Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll finished third, with Lewis Hamilton dropping to fourth after the Mercedes driver succeeded George Russell, who was 13th with 67 laps in the morning.
READ MORE: ‘Typical Mercedes, typical George’ – Sainz ignores Russell’s claim Ferrari is the strongest in pre-season testing
Esteban Ocon, fifth, stopped crawling with just over 90 minutes of session remaining – the morning leader He’s showing off the 4th Red Banner of the day with over 100 laps under his belt. He later showed up to boost his lap count on what was once a more promising day in the Alps.
In P6, Leclerc was a Ferrari driver, his time for second in the morning before conditions start to get cold and times falter.
McLaren’s Lando Norris was briefly interrupted by a stop at the pit exit to bring out a fifth red flag with just over an hour remaining. At P7, he took the lead again all day in the absence of patient Daniel Ricciardo.
Read more: Norris says brake problems have hampered McLaren’s testing in Bahrain – and warns it won’t be an easy fix.
Sebastian Vettel finished eighth after taking over the morning duties for Aston Martin, a reliability issue that keeps him off the track. When he came out to complete the morning session, the FIA’s red flag testing resulted in a quick dip into the pit lane for the four-time champion. As the day ended, another red flag came in – this time leading to a rolling start to field practice to finish all but the Haas session.
Kevin Magnussen is back in the cockpit, and continues to run into the evening while Haas makes up for lost time. I encountered shipping delays That prevented them from running on Thursday morning. His teammate Mick Schumacher was 12th, exhaust trouble seeing the young German get out of the car prematurely before lunch.
Among the top ten was AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda, over 100 laps to his name throughout the day.
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In the morning Valtteri Bottas pulled out his third red flag for the day, stopping off the track after the FIA red flag test to finish the session early. The Alfa Romeo driver handed his duties to Zhou Guanyu in the afternoon, and the rookie finished 15th and last in the table – but cut a half-century in laps.
READ MORE: Bottas ‘happier’ after Alfa Romeo enjoys fruitful opening day for Bahrain testing
Behind Russell was his former teammate Nicholas Latifi – the 14th-placed Williams driver who pulled off the first red flag on Friday when his brakes caught fire and caused him to spin and then jump into Turn 12. The resulting damage, although they mentioned a “minor” problem of brake fire.
The heat is certainly blazing in Bahrain, and with only a day of pre-season testing remaining, the teams have everything they do to perfect their gear ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 20. Perhaps, we will also see some new updates adorning the cars on the third day.
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